The Project Management Institute estimates that by 2027, the number of project management roles will increase by 33 percent, creating nearly 22 million new jobs for qualified project managers.1 A great time to be a project manager if you have the required skills. And if you are a medical device company that will eventually hire a project manager or a project management consultant it’s important to know the skills every medical device project manager should have.
Afterall, the project management skills of a medical device project manager are slightly different than those of a project manager in any other industry.
Top medical device project managers and consultants have these seven project management skills.
1. Expertise within the Discipline
A medical device may include a combination of electrical, mechanical, biomechanical, software, or pharmaceutical components. To manage such complex projects, education and/or experience in these fields are as important as project management training and experience.
For example, if the project requires electrical systems, and the project manager has an education in electrical engineering and experience with a medical device company, they are much more likely to be considered peers by the technical talent on the team. They also know what it takes to be a competent engineer and can encourage better performance from their team members.
2. Ability to create camaraderie (among all the skills every medical device project manager should have, it’s talked about the least)
A good project manager should be able to foster growth and creativity in their team. They can do that by creating a supportive environment where there is a sense of camaraderie. Where the employees enjoy being a part of the team. Where they feel that their opinions are valued.
- Do the employees have fun when working together?
- Do the team members lift each other up instead of pulling each other down?
- Are their projects successful?
- Do they share praise and accountability?
- Is there open communication, trust, and friendly banter?
These factors indicate the level of camaraderie, and thus success, in a team.
3. A skilled medical device project manager should be able to manage employees across skill-sets and performance levels
Project management often involves cross-functional teams and people with different skill sets, experience levels, and talents. A medical device project management team can comprise of admin and support staff, technicians, chemists, microbiologists, QA personnel, etc. It can have trainees as well as senior members with 20+ years of experience.
A skilled project manager has to be conscious of who they have on their project team, how they work with each other, and complement each other. They know how to get the most out of everyone while benefiting each member of the team and the medical device company as a whole.
4. Helping the team members build their personal brand and reputation
People are not always altruistic. Yes, they may be motivated to work better if they know they are a part of a grander plan or a bigger purpose. But everyone wants to establish themselves and set a path for their future. And building a good reputation is important for that. Having a good personal brand and reputation comes with respect, recognition, and power. For the individual in question, the project manager, and even the company. It’s the project manager’s responsibility to ensure every team member working with them has that opportunity and guidance.
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”Jack Welch
5. Not letting the Superstars run the project
When you are in the medical device space, there is a level of competence and intelligence that you expect from every member of your team. The fact that your team can design, manufacture, and put a product through FDA testing means they are above average intelligence and capability. But even among this rarified air, some people are more competent or more experienced than others. And these superstars are often the highest-paid and the most favored.
A medical device project manager’s job is to have their team win. That means getting the project done on time and on budget. That requires a team effort. It requires ensuring that any exceptional talent who works on a team must be able to play well with others, be held to the same standards as each member of the team, and be willing, and even eager, to have their solutions challenged.
When you stop listening to the HiPPO’s (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion), you start creating a meritocracy…a place where ‘it is the quality of the idea that matters, not who suggests it’From the book, How Google Works.
6. High Emotional Quotient
A high-pressure, complex environment of a medical device project is bound to create increased stress and tension for the individuals working on said project. That’s why it’s important for the project manager to understand their team members’ verbal and non-verbal cues and keep them motivated and high functioning. That’s where their emotional intelligence comes into play.
A project manager who:
- Has self-awareness
- Knows each team member reasonably well
- Understands where their project fits in the organization’s portfolio
- Is aware of the team EQ
- recognizes what powers their team to do the best they can and acts accordingly to deliver the results.
7. One of the important skills every medical device project manager should have – Integrity
Integrity is more than just a ‘soft skill’ or a moral value for a successful project manager. On top of knowing their personal ‘why’, integrity is about taking decisive action and ‘ownership’ of the project. It’s communicating clearly and in a timely manner. It’s about taking responsibility for their actions and that of others.
A project manager with integrity should clearly understand the reason behind undertaking the project and what the project means to the company and stakeholders. They should be able to “honor their word” and clear up the resulting mess if they cannot do so.
Looking for a skilled medical device project manager or a project management consultant who knows what they are about? Get in touch.
We provide strategic-level project leaders and project management consultants for the medical device industry. Beyond essential project management skills, our highly experienced consultants know how to lead teams, manage in times of crisis, and influence change. Take a look at our work and see how we can help you get on the right track with our project management team.